Tightening Things Up: Increased Protection for your Social Security Account

Computer SecurityThe Social Security Administration (SSA) has tightened security to reduce the threat from hackers and identity thieves. Now, when you log into your SSA account you will have an extra step to authenticate your identity. You start by doing what you’ve always done, give your username and password. If you haven’t already, the Social Security site will ask you to enter your cell phone number to receive a security code in the future when you attempt to log in. You will then receive a security code sent by text message that you enter to complete your login procedure. In the cybersecurity trade, this is known as multifactor authentication.

The result is better security and, potentially, a bit of hassle for some users. On the first day Social Security rolled this added security step, Verizon customers weren’t getting their security codes. Oops. The problem has since been fixed. Many older Americans don’t text on their phones which means they’ll either have to learn how to text or do without their online SSA account. At the same time, multifactor authentication doesn’t prevent cybercriminals from fraudulently creating an online account in your name, and siphoning away your benefits.

Your response?

1. If you don’t already have an account with the Social Security Administration, now would be a good time to open one, before a thief decides to do it for you. Here’s a direct link to get started: https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do
2. And if you’re not into texting, now is a good time to get familiar with that feature of your mobile smart phone. If you’re having trouble, ask your favorite teenager for some quick tech support.

Staying ahead of cyber-evildoers is an ongoing battle and multifactor authentication is a powerful weapon in that war. Protect your Social Security account today!

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